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3 Down, 3 to Go

3 Down, 3 to Go

Real Women, Real Stories
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by Marilyn B.

Read Marilyn's story and track her journey…

I can always tell when I've "turned the corner" because I start thinking about sending an update. The BIG news here is that I am halfway through my chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer! I am doing my happy dance—a little slower, a bit more wobbly than my more robust happy dance, but I'm doing it just the same.

Cycle #3 had its challenges. My husband, Jonathan, was out of town all week, which we planned for, and daughter Emily was sick, which we did not anticipate. She came down with a very bad cold midweek and had to stay home a few days. I called the doctor right away—my oncologist, that is. The basic advice was not to touch her or kiss her. Well, it's kinda hard to be a good mom and germaphobe at the same time. I'm sorry to say the germaphobe won out. Our compromise was that we gave each other back hugs and kept very good tabs on which water bottles were whose.

Although my side effects followed the now predictable pattern and were no more severe than cycles #1 and #2, I found myself a bit more emotional this cycle. There were a few times that I just ended up in a sobbing heap. I think it was fatigue more than anything. I just felt like I was on the edge and couldn't come up with anything more constructive than weeping. But it got me through, and even though Jonathan was not with me, he was always on the other end of the phone doing his best to make me feel loved and supported.

I also have an online support group of women who all started chemo in March. Some are doing better than others. I seem to be right in the middle of the pack, which is somewhat comforting. I read a Churchill quote on the discussion group today: "If you are going through hell, keep going." It is our mantra—endurance is the key. I just need to get through every day, each and every cycle, and then this nightmare will be over.

My silver linings: The Care Calendar worked like a charm (thanks, Nicole). It was fantastic to have a stream of wonderful caring women come to the door with a smile, a casserole, or better yet, a fresh fruit tart. We were very well nourished and very well nurtured. For some visits we shared a meal, took a walk, or had a chat, while other visits were quieter, with me sleeping and my caregivers sharing my space. On Saturday night, my girlfriends Donna and Debbie and their daughters Jenny and Alex converged with Chinese takeout and a double-fudge chocolate cake from the grocery store. Normalcy reigned as we sat down at the table, and all six of us started talking at the same time, like we've been doing for the past 10 years.

As I have said many times throughout this saga, I am truly blessed to have every resource I need to get me through this. This go-round I have to give a huge shout-out to my care team: Donna, Jan, Sydney, Denise, Silvina, Jennifer K., Nancy H., Mary Ann, Nancy A., Mary Pat, Kristin, Nicole, Abby, Debbie, Susan, Eileen, and Jennifer R. I would have been lost without each and every one of you.

So going forward, the next cycle is May 17. Jonathan will be home—YEA! My sister-in-law, Anthea, will also be here. So I will be doubly blessed. Thanks to everyone for your warm thoughts, prayers and wishes.

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